At a time when the tourist arrival has started increasing in the Valley, the tourism players are allegedly axing the roots of the sector by resorting to an unprecedented hike in tariffs, thus leaving the other associated players to suffer huge losses.
The government has also issued a notice in this regard, directing the hotelkeepers to stop unwarranted tariff hike so as to boost the tourist traffic to the Valley.
According to a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Tour and Travel Operators said that the hoteliers here have resorted to unprecedented hikes in hotel traffic even during the period of the off-season, which according to them is adding to their miseries.
Inayat Ahmad, owner of Aala Tours and Travels said that the hoteliers have resorted to an unprecedented hike in tariff in the off-season.
“We are getting rates for two seasons from the hotels. Off-season rates from October to March and on-season rates from April to September. However, this year as the tourist arrival started increasing in Kashmir, the hoteliers have thrown the fixed rates to the winds and are seeking tariff as per their will,” he said.
Without naming any of the hotels, Inayat said that the tour and travel operators are suffering huge losses as they have discussed the amounts with their clients as per the fixed rates.
“We are being forced to pay from our own pockets. If such things will continue to happen, the sector is going to witness further losses in the season to come,” he said. “It seems the tourism players are axing the roots of this sector on their own, by coming up with an unprecedented hike in tariff.”
Owner of Duke Kashmir Travels, Rayees Ahmad told KNO that some of the hoteliers are out to compensate the losses in a jiffy, which they have suffered in the past over a year and a half.
“It is unfortunate to see that the hoteliers hike their tariff thrice in a month. We are discussing fixed rates by the hoteliers with our clients, but they have resorted to unprecedented hikes during the off-season,” he said.
Rayees said that there was a need to make the category and rates of the registered hotels public so that the tour operators or the clients could see themselves what charges they are supposed to pay to the hotel.
“We are still unaware whether the tariff hiked by them has been discussed with the government or not. We don’t know whether they have got the government nod in this regard as we don’t have the exact rates and category of the hotels with us,” he said, adding that the concerned department must come up with a solution by making the rates and category of registered hotels public to help the tourists as well as the tour operators.
Meanwhile, Managing Director J-K Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC), Nisar Ahmad Wani told KNO that the department has already sent notices to the hoteliers, their associations as well, as publicized the notice in newspapers.
“We have played our role after the tour and travel agents came with up their issue,” he said.
Earlier, a notice was issued by Director Tourism Kashmir wherein the hoteliers were told to stop “unwarranted hike in tariff”.
“With the gradual increase in the tourist influx into the Kashmir Valley during this winter season, there are reports that hotelkeepers of the Kashmir Valley particularly at Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Srinagar have hiked their hotel tariffs abruptly. Tourism Sector across the world in general and Kashmir Valley, in particular, has suffered immensely during the past 18 months,” the notice reads.
The notice added at this juncture of time, it is imperative upon hotelkeepers that they would come to the fore with concessional tariffs to attract more and more tourist traffic to the Valley from the potential tourist markets within the country and pave the way to the speedy revival of the tourist activities in a sustained manner.
“Any complaints of overcharging or abrupt price hike may jeopardize the coordinated promotional efforts by the Department and Travel Trade Associations for boosting tourist activities and are sure to bring a bad name to the brand Kashmir. All the tourist traders including hotelkeepers and travel agents have a responsible role in boosting tourist arrivals into the Valley,” it said.
“It is, therefore, hereby enjoined upon all the hotelkeepers of the Kashmir Valley particularly at Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Srinagar to avoid any unwarranted hike in the tariffs under all circumstances. As per provisions of the J-K Registration of Tourist Trade Act, 1978/2011 the tariffs should be conspicuously displayed at the hotel premises. Tariffs should be commensurate to the standard of the hotels, accommodation, service, and food facilities available at each hotel, and should prevail for one season without any upward fluctuations. Any complaints received in this manner shall be dealt with strictly and swiftly as per provisions under the J-K Registration of Tourist Trade Act,” the notice reads. (KNO)